Louisiana will remain in phase 2 of reopening in part due to Hurricane Laura, governor says
From CNN's Devon M. Sayers in Atlanta
Louisiana will remain in phase 2 of reopening for Covid-19 for an additional two weeks, Gov. John Bel Edwards said today.
“The challenge is we are going to be blind for this week” because of suspension of testing due to the storm, the governor said at a press conference.
1:19 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020
What you need to know about the new CDC testing guidelines
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines. Now, the center no longer recommends testing for most people without symptoms — even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.
Here's what we know so far about these new guidelines:
About the change: The CDC changed its site on Monday. Previously, it said "Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection." But now, it says, "If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test."
Some experts are baffled: Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University who was previously Baltimore's health commissioner, said the testing guideline changes make no sense. "These are exactly the people who should be tested," Wen said.
Pressure from the White House: A senior federal health official close to the process tells CNN the sudden change in CDC Covid-19 testing guidance was the result of pressure from the Trump administration. When asked by CNN whether the CDC was responding to pressure from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, the senior official said, "It's coming from the top down."
1:21 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020
Expert on new CDC guidelines: "I am worried that this is just a way to slow down testing"
From CNN's Andrea Diaz
Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist and the associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine, said on CNN Newsroom this morning that he doesn't understand why the CDC changed its guidelines on testing.
The CDC changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines to say some people without symptoms may not need to be tested, even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus. Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.
Del Rio said the CDC has not provided evidence to explain the changes. “I mean, the evidence that I'm aware of as of today is that close to 40% of the cases of the infections are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people transmit the infection,” Del Rio said.
“So, not testing — I mean, if you have been in contact with somebody for a few minutes, that's okay. But if you have been in contact for 50 minutes and that people doesn't have a mask, I think you need to be tested regardless if you have symptoms or not. We know especially young people going into the house and then transmit inside the household. So, the guidelines baffle me and I really don't understand them," he said.
Del Rio added that he's concerned about politics influencing these decisions. He noted that President Trump has said in the past that more testing leads to the detection of more cases.
"If we slowed down testing we will have a decrease in cases,” Del Rio said. “So I am worried that this is just a way to slow down testing and that would clearly be not good. We don't want to decrease the amount of testing. We want to decrease cases by decreasing transmission, not by decreasing testing."
Medical correspondent calls new CDC guidelines 'ridiculous'
12:03 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020
Moderna says vaccine data shows it is well tolerated across all age groups
From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas
Moderna’s experimental coronavirus vaccine appears to be safe and elicits an immune response in all age groups, including the elderly, a company official said Wednesday.
Data from the phase one safety trial of the vaccine showed only mild adverse effects, and generated an immune response in volunteers aged 18 to 71, Dr. Jacqueline Miller, therapeutic area head for infectious diseases at Moderna, told a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The phase one trial was conducted in three age groups: 18 to 55, 56 to 70 and 71 plus years of age. Participants received two 100mg doses of the vaccine 28 days apart.
Neutralizing antibodies – which inactivate the virus — were detected in all participants, including the upper age range, she told the meeting. All age groups also seemed to produce the same immune response – a good sign, as older people often have weaker responses to vaccines.
The most common adverse reactions were fatigue, chills, headache and myalgia. More reports of adverse symptoms observed after the second dose of the vaccine, but the majority of symptoms resolved within two days.
ACIP advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how vaccines should be used in the population.
11:20 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
Florida reports more than 3,200 new Covid-19 cases and 153 additional deaths
From CNN's Dan Shepherd
Florida health officials reported 3,220 new Covid-19 cases and 153 additional resident deaths on Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The state is reporting a total of 602,113 coronavirus cases among Florida residents and 608,722 cases across the state since the pandemic began.
The Florida Department of Health shows the total Covid-19 death toll in the state standing at 10,733 Florida residents. There were 153 new deaths reported, 30 less than yesterday’s count.
There have been more than 4.4 million Covid-19 tests given in Florida, with 86% of them testing as negative. There are 4,430 Covid-19 patients currently hospitalized throughout Florida
Remember: These numbers were released by Florida’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database, which is drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project
11:21 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
20% of new Covid-19 cases in New York City are from travelers from states on quarantine list, mayor says
About 20% of the new Covid-19 cases across New York City are coming from people traveling from the 31 states on New York’s quarantine list, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
The sheriff’s office has completed more than 3,000 vehicle stops, issued two citations and handed out more than 12,000 face coverings, the mayor said.
The mayor urged people coming in from one of these places to quarantine, saying in part, “You really have to quarantine, it’s the law.”
“If you don’t need to travel to one of those affected states, just don’t,” de Blasio added.
10:15 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
Kenya eases Covid-19 restrictions as hotspots begin to "stabilize"
From CNN's Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi
In a televised national address on Wednesday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the easing of some Covid-19 restrictions as the country's infections have reached a “manageable level.”
Kenyatta lifted a ban on alcohol sales in hotels and restaurants saying, "hotspots like Nairobi and Mombasa have begun to stabilize," as a result of the majority of Kenyans adequately observing Covid-19 guidelines. The national positivity rate has fallen from 13% in June to 8% in August, the president noted, adding “we are reporting more recoveries than infections in some instances”.
Bars and nightclubs will remain closed, and a nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time will remain in place for another 30 days.
Despite the progress in major cities, Kenyatta warned the crisis is shifting to other counties with weaker health systems. “The new frontier of this invisible enemy is increasingly shifting to the counties and rural areas,” he said.
“We note the good progress we have made so far in fighting this enemy, but, this positive news is no license for us to drop guard and backslide from our path of responsibility.”
At least 213 people tested positive on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to at least 33,016 with 564 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
10:02 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
Airbnb will let employees work from home through August 2021
From CNN’s Brian Fung
Airbnb is the latest company to signal that it is bracing for a long pandemic, telling employees they can work from home through next summer, even if their offices reopen before then.
The hospitality company said in a statement that it wants to give its workers “flexibility and choice.”
"We are offering this remote working extension to give employees the ability to plan further ahead and make the choices they need around school calendars, being closer to family, caring for vulnerable family members, and other personal decisions,” Airbnb said. "We are fortunate that our employees are able to perform their jobs from home, and we are supporting them as they do so."
10:31 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers viewer questions on the updated CDC guidelines
From CNN's Melissa Mahtani
In a shift that perplexed some doctors, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines to say some people without symptoms may not need to be tested, even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.
Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is answering viewer questions on this latest guidance and the virus in general.